Article: A Leap in the Dark New Work in the Recent Work Gallery Latest Introductory Print Specials Upcoming Workshop: PIE Labs 2017 Suggestions Subscriptions
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A Leap in the Dark
"The artist never entirely knows We guess. We may be wrong, but we take leap after leap in the dark" Agnes de Mille
Back when I was in college (presumably during the Dark Ages) I had occasion to take a class titled: Life Drawing 101. As of this writing, I remain a bit fuzzy about exactly why I had registered for such a class because, at the time, I was majoring in music and, of course, drawing the human figure would likely not have been a necessary prerequisite to learning about music. Nevertheless, and despite the seeming incongruity, I do recall having completed the class with a slightly better than passing grade.
To this day though, I maintain a hang up about the fact that I can't seem to draw a hand so that it actually looks like a hand. Every time I try to draw a hand I'm faced with a result that looks more like a knurled tree stump than it does a human hand. I can't explain why this seems to be a problem for me because my lack of ability to draw a hand has not (as far as I can tell) held me back as a photographer. I can say that I took the life drawing class prior to taking up photography (by several years). So who knows... maybe the perceived failure in one pursuit actually led to the other. No matter. It's not really important.
However, in what might best be described as an inevitably improbable connection, my long ago and considerably less than exhaustive training in drawing is now finally being put to use within the context of a recently conceived series of new images.
A few months back I stumbled across a video, on YouTube, in which the narrator was demonstrating the features of an iOS based drawing and painting application called: Procreate. With the Procreate app, a stylus could be used to draw directly on a tablet screen (in this case, an iPad) and the software would not only facilitate the appearance characteristics of pencils, pens, brushes, and most any other imaginable drawing or painting implement the app is also capable of working with layers, in much the same way as I have grown accustomed to working within Photoshop. And in fact, the layered drawings (or paintings) produced within the Procreate app can be saved and exported as .psd files. The overall creative potential for what turned out to be a $5.99 app seemed just too great to pass up. I thought, maybe I could resurrect those long forgotten drawing skills and, if nothing else, have a great amount of fun. Despite my uncanny ability to depict a fairly convincing five-fingered tree stump, I've always found drawing an enjoyable exercise.
Well, I must have expressed more than a passing interest in all of this to my wife, Tracy. A week later, there on my desk, was an iPad Pro, an Apple Pencil, and a little note that said: "Have fun!" (Have I mentioned how much I absolutely adore my wife?)
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New Work Featured in the Recent Work Gallery
New Work Featured in the Recent Work Gallery
Currently being displayed in the Recent Work Gallery are eighteen newly completed images that have been culled from the beginnings of a brand new series titled: Enigmata.
Combining both drawings and photographs, the new series best described as being a form of "digital collage" rather than strictly "photography" is, at this point, far too new and unexplored to be adequately defined or explained in terms of its actual meaning and purpose. (Time and further exploration will, hopefully, tend to sort that out.) Suffice it to say that my intention (so far) has been to focus on the idea of forcing the viewer to create their own unique story about the content and meaning of each image by playing upon the idea that very little of what is contained within each image will be strictly recognizable. Thus the images are intended to be purely visual experiences in which the viewer must determine (for themselves) what they are actually seeing and experiencing.
To view the recent work simply click the link below:
For a limited time only, 11"x14" prints of the newly introduced pigment ink editions shown below will be available for only $170.00 each. That's over 50% below the retail price! And free shipping is included.
What are IPS Prints?
Available for USA delivery only Introductory Print Specials (IPS) feature an ongoing program of selected pigment ink print editions that are offered exclusively through the
HuntingtonWitherill.com web site at 50% below the retail prices. Each IPS print is culled from the regular limited edition, is signed and numbered, and is printed on an over-sized
sheet. IPS prints are not mounted or over-matted. Each loose print is rolled and shipped in a sturdy mailing tube. And the $170.00 price includes free shipping within the USA.
This special offer applies only to the two images currently posted on the Introductory Print Specials page at HuntingtonWitherill.com.
Each IPS offering will be available for a limited time only and there will never be more than two (2) editioned images available as IPS prints at any given time. Each time new work is introduced to the
web site, new IPS offerings will be posted to replace the previous offerings. Once an image has been removed from the Introductory Print Specials page, standard retail prices will be applied to any
remaining prints available in that edition.
PIE Labs 2017 Dates- September 22-24, 2017 Location- Center for Photographic Art, Carmel, CA
PIE Labs described as "an artistic development retreat for all media" is presented each year by the Center for Photographic Art in Carmel, CA. "Join us at the 2017 PIE Labs and continue your exploration of the universal yet mysterious mechanics of the creative process. Rejuvenate your work, your process, and your creative journey. Its a perfect blend of insight, inspiration, practical knowledge and imagination."
This year's annual PIE Labs event will feature the following facilitators:
Linda Cano- Director, Sonoma Museum of Art Frank De Luca- Ph.D., MFT. Psychologist Sarah Rabkin- Artist, Writer, Photographer Jerry Takigawa- Photographer, Designer Kim Weston- Photographer Huntington Witherill- Photographer
Enrollment is limited and early sign-up is encouraged. For complete information and event registration please visit the Center for Photographic Art website at the following direct URL link:
With great anticipation, a fair amount of excitement, and the requisite level of apprehension that seems to accompany most any new and unfamiliar tool, the first few drawings using the Procreate app were somewhat crude, to be sure. Here's my very first attempt:
Despite what clearly appears to be a child-like naοvetι, I continued working with successive drawings over the next couple of weeks until they seemed to be gaining a bit more sophistication and finesse. At the peak of what I'll call my "re-introductory drawing phase", I had completed what I thought to be a couple of reasonably competent sketches, as shown below:
However, despite the fact that the sketches, themselves, were being produced from scratch (i.e.- they were not being traced from photographs or other outside sources) I began to realize that no matter how sophisticated those sketches might eventually become, they would continue to remain, for the most part, nothing beyond the ordinary and certainly nothing that I could rightfully claim to be in any way unique.
It was at that point I thought; maybe I could somehow incorporate the sketches into my photographs in such a way that they might serve to compliment one another, and in so doing, become something more distinctly compelling, and perhaps even constitute an approach that might be more decidedly of my own creation.
So, I started to combine the sketches with parts and pieces of my landscape photographs. As a photographer who has worked with the landscape for nearly 50 years, it is not an exaggeration to say that I have, literally, thousands upon thousands of landscape photographs that never quite came to fruition. To be sure, I maintain a vast resource of prior images from which to work.
Upon completion of the first attempt to combine the sketches and photographs, the result (shown below) seemed engaging enough that it encouraged me to continue with this particular line of exploration and, over the past three months, I have completed roughly thirty pieces that comprise the beginnings of a new series of images titled: Enigmata.
Now of course, exactly where this series is headed, and what it specifically represents, remains a mystery to me. As Agnes de Mille suggests in her quote, this is one of those "leaps in the dark." I figure it will take at least 100-200 finished images before the series begins to better define itself. If nothing else, having a good number of images from which to edit out all but the very best is an important aspect of producing any meaningful body of work.
I can say that one of the things I really enjoy about these images is that virtually nothing within the images, themselves, is strictly recognizable. They are purely visual experiences in which the viewer must actually create their own story about what it is that they are seeing and experiencing. For me, personally, that is a very exciting prospect and one that is likely to keep me engaged in the journey for some time to come.
Though this new series is still in its infancy and admittedly, the approach itself has clearly strayed beyond the confines of "Photography" (as it is normally defined) I hope you will enjoy some of the new images currently being displayed in the Recent Work Gallery. Time will tell what actually becomes of this series but, for now, I'm very excited about the possibilities.
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